International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) recently settled a dispute between a ship owner and its Turkish agent for losses arising from the refusal of Turkish port authorities to allow a vessel to berth because of its connection to Cyprus.
Turkish regulations prohibit any vessel directly or indirectly related to the Republic of Cyprus from calling at Turkish ports. The owner was an existing customer of the agency group appointed to handle the ship’s call in Turkey, but had not called at this particular Turkish port before.
In the agent’s pre-arrival messages to both owners and charterers, it mentioned that anything linking the vessel to Cyprus could lead to the ship not being allowed to berth. In spite of the agent’s express warning to its principal, a document was sent to the agent showing the address of the Panamanian-registered owning company as being ‘care-of’ a company in Cyprus. The agent failed to notice the address and the documentation was forwarded to the authorities.
After the vessel was refused permission to berth, the agent maintained that the owner had been warned about the embargo of all things Cypriot, and had failed to take the necessary action. The owner, meanwhile, claimed that the agent should have carefully reviewed the document. Accordingly, it deducted its alleged losses from other sums due to the agency group.
Although the owner ultimately agreed to accept 50% responsibility for the incident, this still left the agency group with a shortfall of $50,000, which was reimbursed by ITIC.